Child, Not Bride: Ending Child Marriage in Minnesota

St. Paul, MN The Minnesota House of Representatives unanimously passed HF 1861 this week. It is a bill to limit marriage to those 18 years of age and older. Rep. Kaoly Her, lead sponsor, said, “Child marriages were acceptable a century ago, or even maybe a generation ago. Today, we know that girls have to stay in school. Today, we know that when young girls have babies, rates of infant mortality and maternal mortality are high. Today, we know that there are simply no good outcomes. No religion advocates for child marriage. No culture advocates for child marriage.”

Between the years 2000 and 2010, there were 248,000 child marriages in the US and an estimated 2,500 of those marriages occurred in Minnesota, where children aged 16 or 17 can currently marry with judicial or parental consent.

The research is clear: children who marry today are far more likely to suffer from abuse, poverty, disease, and divorce than those who wait until they are 18 or older. Children who marry drop out of high school at disproportionately high rates and perpetuate poverty for their future children.

Two states, New Jersey and Delaware, passed laws in 2018 outlawing all marriages under age 18. Ten more states have similar legislation pending in a trend occurring around the world.

Unfortunately, Minnesota’s bill has not yet been heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Minnesota voters have sent letters to nearly all of the Minnesota House and Senate members urging support to end child marriage.

Sen. Sandy Pappas (D-St. Paul), Senate sponsor, said, “After a bi-partisan vote in the House, I’m hoping to get a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), for SF 1132. Our state should not be sanctioning the marriage of children.”

For more information on the bill, please call World Without Genocide at 651-695-7621. World Without Genocide promotes education and action to protect innocent people, prevent genocide, prosecute perpetrators, and remember those affected by genocide.

To contact Sen. Pappas, you can reach her by phone at 651-296-1802 or by email at sen.sandy.pappas@senate.mn. You can also mail letters or pay her a visit in the Minnesota Senate Building, 90 University Avenue, Room 2205 in St. Paul.

Senator Sandy Pappas
Sandy Pappas represents District 65, which includes portions of Saint Paul in Ramsey County in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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